November 16, 2016 – Ottawa – National Defence / Canadian Armed Forces
Her Majesty’s Canadian Ship (HMCS) Vancouver is assisting the people of New Zealand affected by the 7.8 magnitude earthquake that struck the South Island on November 14. HMCS Vancouver was in the vicinity of Auckland, NZ, at the time of the earthquake preparing for a goodwill visit to celebrate the 75th anniversary of New Zealand’s Naval Forces with other allied naval forces.
The ship, with its embarked CH-124 Sea King helicopter and air detachment, will be a key asset in evacuating persons from the affected area and assisting in the transport of emergency supplies into the area as the majority of roads and rail lines have been severed.
In the evening of November 14 (Eastern Standard Time) HMCS Vancouver began transiting towards the area worst affected as part of a multinational Task Group of warships. At noon today (Eastern Standard Time) HMCS Vancouver arrived off the coastal town of Kaikoura, South Island ready to commence operations today.
“HMCS Vancouver’s rapid shift from training and naval operations to assisting earthquake victims in New Zealand is testament to the professionalism and capabilities of the Royal Canadian Navy. More broadly, Canadians can be proud that their Canadian Armed Forces stand ready to assist our allies when we are called upon”
General Jonathan Vance, Chief of the Defence Staff
· HMCS Vancouver will conduct emergency humanitarian operations in order to minimize human suffering.
· The ship has airlift capability. It also carries basic Humanitarian Assistance Disaster Relief supplies onboard which may be used in post-disaster efforts if needed. These basic supplies include first aid kits, tents, generators, blankets, chainsaws and hand tools. The ship’s company stands ready to support the operation as it develops.
· HMCS Vancouver’s full complement including her CH-124 Sea King air detachment totals 231 personnel.
· The Canadian Armed Forces stands ready to support Global Affairs Canada, the lead department for the Government of Canada’s response to the aftermath of the earthquake in New Zealand.
· The RCN “generates forward” by deploying warships and submarines abroad to train and conduct trials. Already at sea, these ships have the people, tools, skills, and flexibility needed to respond quickly when called upon to support Canada’s military priorities in the region, and to provide the government with defence and security options. The ship’s capabilities can be augmented in situ as needed to meet specialized tasks.
· The RCN is one of the most flexible tools for the Government of Canada’s diplomatic and foreign policy. Its missions range from humanitarian assistance and disaster relief to deterrence, anti-terrorism and full combat operations. Its 13,000 full-time and part-time military members and 3,700 civilians are stationed across Canada and are deployed around the world.
· The RCN is one of “Canada’s First Responders” on times of crisis or conflict. When Canada wants to demonstrate its leadership and commitment, the government sends ships.
· Canadian Joint Operations Command prepares for and conducts operations to defend Canada, to assist in the defence of North America, and, as directed, to promote peace and security abroad.